San Luis Obispo County's panel on the status of women is adding high-powered appointments

The 15-member county Commission on the Status of Women, which had more than half a dozen vacancies last summer, is filling out with a trio of high-powered women leaders.

North County rancher Dee Lacey and former Paso Robles Library and Recreation Services Manager Barbara Partridge received the go-ahead to join the group last week from the Board of Supervisors.

County Parks and Recreation Commissioner Deanne Gonzales is expected to be approved Tuesday.

All were nominated by Supervisor Frank Mecham of Paso Robles.

The three are joining a group that some considered moribund. When Paulla Ufferheide of Cambria, appointed by Supervisor Bruce Gibson, became chairwoman early this year, she said she wanted to rejuvenate the commission.

Ufferheide said many women face financial problems, including homelessness, inadequate health care and joblessness. Many single mothers need help, she added, and all these problems facing women affect the family.

The commission should target these issues, Ufferheide said.

The commission’s purpose, according to a county staff report, is to “recommend solutions to problems involving women” and help “eliminate … discrimination in ... housing, employment, employment benefits, education, community services and related fields.”

The three new appointees are high profile in the county.

Lacey, a cattle rancher, is prominent in the Farm Bureau and Cattlewomen’s organizations. She also has served with the Cuesta College Foundation and was on both the Cuesta College and Paso Robles School District boards of trustees.

In her application, Lacey wrote that she is “anxious to see if we are doing all we can do. The commission doesn’t seem to have (as) much relevance today as it did in 1975.”

Gonzales is also high profile, most recently as a co-founder of the group Protect Our Property Rights. The organization fought hard against the so-called viewshed ordinance, which sought to protect views of ridge tops along the North Coast.

Like Lacey, Gonzales is prominent in county agriculture. She is a member of the County Cattlewomen and Farm Bureau and sits on the county Parks and Recreation Commission.

Partridge, too, has a long résumé of community service.

In addition to her substantial work with library and recreation services, where she managed 60 workers and a $3.5 million budget, she has been chairwoman of the Paso Robles Festival of the Arts and worked with the county Community Foundation, among other endeavors.

Partridge has a bachelor’s in anthropology from UCLA and a master’s in public administration from the University of San Francisco.Gonzales and Lacey have completed some college courses.